Lenten Devotion for March 12, 2019

Scripture Passage: Genesis 15:1–6 (NRSV)

15After these things the word of the Lordcame to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the Lordcame to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lordreckoned it to him as righteousness.

Faith. It’s a tricky thing to understand. Here is the first place in Scripture that we have righteousness given as a result of belief. It is, as our protestant roots would attest, salvation by faith alone! And notice the gift that God promised comes even while Abram is in “doubt” mode. Some may say that Abram is cranky towards God and by saying that heirs are not possible because of his circumstances.

But we witness God’s patience at work. We see that the promise is not only verbal but is tied to a sign in the sky from which Abram can draw strength day by day (at least the days without total cloud cover!)

Here is the deal…God is not asking for perfect responses. God, in fact, knows that is not possible. What God seeks is a willing heart. A person willing to focus on the promises even when the circumstances say it can’t happen is someone God uses mightily.

What promises have you walked away from because too much time has past or the road seems too steep? Which dreams have you left behind because you don’t see how it could ever happen? Do you know how to tell a holy desire from a personal one? Holy desires grow over time and our desires don’t because we quickly move on to something else. Has God given you a desire that even though years have past the desire has not?

Abraham and Sarah are role models for what God does through persons willing to be on the journey. Was their faith perfect? Absolutely not. They had times of doubt and days of backsliding but they remained sensitive enough to God’s presence to continue moving forward.

God, you are the promise keeper. Use what little faith I have to keep me pointed in your direction. Help me see that by your grace all things are possible.